If you’re in a B2B industry, you’ve probably heard that savvy B2B marketers are using ABM strategies to boost sales and drive higher revenues.
Sounds tempting, right?!
But why hasn’t your company adopted ABM yet, you might be wondering.
As ABM experts with extensive experience in B2B marketing, we’re happy to answer why your current agency can’t implement ABM for you.
For starters, let’s begin by defining what ABM is.
What Is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a business marketing strategy that focuses on creating personalized buying experiences for the pre-identified set of high-value accounts. Sales and marketing teams collaborate to develop a comprehensive ABM plan.
In other words, account-based marketing enables you to weed out less valuable leads early on and ensure that sales and marketing are aligned. In return, your team can leap into the critical processes of engaging and delighting those accounts much faster.
ABM helps your business reach high-value accounts as if they’re individual markets. By personalizing the buyer’s journey and tailoring your communications, content, and campaigns, you’ll see an increased ROI and boost in your customer loyalty.
Why Your Current Agency Can't Implement ABM for You?
Now that you know that ABM is a highly efficient marketing strategy, you might be wondering why your current agency doesn’t implement it for you. There might be a number of different reasons behind it. Let’s review each of them in more detail:
1. Lack of Experience in ABM
The most apparent reason why your agency can’t implement ABM for your business is that it lacks experience in ABM and the ability to properly position ABM to the right stakeholders within your organization.
In many instances, sales and marketing teams aren’t even properly aligned, but it’s a must for a successful ABM adoption. For example, sales teams often think ABM is just another marketing trick to make them do more admin work. ABM initiatives also fail when a small marketing team (sometimes even just one person) tries to do ABM “on the side.”
ABM must be a high-priority commitment on both – the sales and marketing – sides. It requires senior executive commitment and sponsorship across all sales and marketing functions.
Some of the ABM adoption best practices include:
- Assigning an executive leader or a sponsor to the ABM initiative. It can be a CEO, CMO, or Head of Demand Generation because of their authority and ability to influence matters.
- Actively working to communicate the initiative and establish strong cross-functional alignment between the sales and marketing teams.
- Inviting sales and marketing leaders to participate in ABM Council meetings tasked with implementing a pilot.
- Scheduling regular KPI reporting and progress reviews with the ABM council.
- Creating milestones on the roadmap when practices from the ABM pilot need to be expanded and converted to standard operating procedures.
2. Lack of Sophistication with ABM Platforms and Channels
One of the most significant benefits of account-based marketing is the ability to communicate with multiple members of the purchasing committee. It allows you to get your message in front of the right high-value audience within your target accounts (ideally one customized to each persona). However, with such personalization comes the issue of determining which account-based marketing channels are appropriate for a given campaign.
Since ABM is all about putting your audience first, you should never choose your channels before you’ve put together a cohesive marketing strategy.
However, note that you should understand your target audience list well before deciding what channel to use to communicate with them. Your strategy must identify “who,” “what,” and “why” before you figure out “where.” This means that you should know your target audience’s demographics, behaviors, motives, interests, where they do their research, and so on before you decide on a perfect channel for your ABM campaign.
What’s more, the right ABM channel will vary depending on where the user is in the buying journey as well as on which member of the buying committee you’re reaching out to with that content. That’s why it’s important to consider multiple channels for different situations.
Top ABM channels include:
- Paid search
- Display ads
- Direct mail
3. Lack Of Understanding on How to Execute ABM Across the Marketing Workflow
Even though B2B marketers understand how efficient ABM really is, very few of them leverage the strategy to its full potential. While considering an ABM initiative and running a one-off ABM campaign is a good start, you can only see its real results when you develop integrated and personalized campaigns that address your target accounts’ needs.
Let’s take a look at the five simple yet effective steps that you need to go through for a successful ABM adoption:
Step 1: Understanding your Audience
After identifying your high-value account list (prospects, current customers, partners, or a mix of all three), it’s crucial to understand their needs, pain points, and where they are in their customer journey.
Step 2: Coordinating a Set of ABM Programs
While your ABM strategy may differ from your existing marketing strategy, you may still adjust the programs you have in place to match the accounts on your list.
Note that you’ll need to collaborate cross-functionally with Digital Marketing, Content, Social Media, Demand Generation, Field, Partners, and Customers to organize a set of ABM campaigns.
Step 3: Initiating Sales Team Follow-Ups
Any successful ABM approach requires synergy between sales and marketing. However, alignment entails more than simply agreeing to pursue the same set of objectives.
From the start, marketing teams must collaborate with sales to agree on the target accounts, targets, and metrics. They'll next need to provide campaign-specific messaging, as well as follow-up guidelines and templates, to Sales.
Step 4: Measuring Across the Funnel
Having the correct attribution mechanisms in place to assess the impact of each program is perhaps the most crucial component of any integrated campaign.
It's impossible to know which programs succeed and which don't without the correct frameworks in place. Setting up those processes and disseminating outcomes throughout the marketing team will be vital for Marketing Operations. To ensure that programs and efforts are measured effectively, they'll need to collaborate closely with stakeholders from Demand Generation, Field, Partner, Customer, Web, Content, and Social Media Marketing.
Step 5: Scaling ABM Efforts Using Technology
Technology is the driving force behind taking your ABM approach to the next level. It's what'll allow you to automate parts of the approach and grow your ABM efforts. Knowing what technology is available and its capabilities will allow you to incorporate ABM tech that has a real impact on your ABM campaign performance.
A B2B performance marketing agency that truly specializes in ABM has vetted ABM technology and is likely partnering with the ones that have proven their value.
4. Misunderstanding of What Is ABM - Tactics vs. Strategy
Many people confuse what ABM really is – is it a tactic, or is it a strategy?
In fact, ABM is a strategy for some and a tactic for others. We believe that most B2B marketers who consider implementing ABM should look at it as a lead nurturing strategy. Eventually, an Account Marketer or a BOFU (bottom-of-funnel) Marketer could run ABM.
A study by DemandBase clearly shows that, with 41% of firms over $500MM already using ABM, the tactical application is likely most in use. Firms like this typically use ABM the most and have a dedicated Enterprise team that needs ABM. Smaller firms use ABM the least, with 67% of companies under $24MM just starting to use it and medium firms using it less than one year.
As a marketing strategy, ABM has a strong point to make. Marketing and sales are mostly about adding Logos, not people’s names to your website’s Client page. However, it’s people who make decisions, not companies – that’s why we need to build a list, one person at a time. Most importantly, sales must get in there and use a human touch to understand relationships and when to close the deal.
Should Your Implement ABM in Your Company?
ABM is undoubtedly an effective strategy that can boost your bottom line. If you answer ‘yes’ to at least three of the following questions, you likely need to implement at least some form of ABM in your company:
- Do you have marketing automation and CRM implemented in your business?
- Is there a group of prospective accounts in your market that rise above the others in terms of strategic importance, potential revenue, profitability, fit for your value proposition, or any other key considerations?
- Do your marketing team, and your partners have the ability and skills to create integrated campaigns?
- Are your sales and marketing teams able to collaborate effectively toward the shared goal of the company?
- Can you allocate a portion of your general marketing, advertising, content, and demand generation resources toward an ABM pilot?
- Do you have inside sales, lead development, or a telesales team who can dedicate one full-time employee to your ABM campaign? If not, a B2B performance marketing agency that specializes in ABM is a valuable partner to have.
More and more B2B businesses are starting to consider ABM strategies to not only attract new customers but also to retain long-term customer relationships. All of these lead to the essential goal of every company – increased revenue.
ABM is also helping the marketing team to become more trusted and needed by their peers in the sales team. After all, without marketing and sales team collaboration, ABM can’t be successful.
If you have any questions or need help implementing ABM in your company, feel free to contact us. Our professional team at BusinessOnline will help you boost your revenue by adopting an ABM strategy the right way.